Perhaps you are new to CrossFit, super excited to see the results of your struggles in Elements class starting to pay off, you’ve hit a few PR’s, and are getting into the flow of things. And then a business trip or vacation pops up.
One of the things about CrossFit is that you are a part of a worldwide community as well. There are CrossFit gyms all over and I’m positive you can find one within a close enough distance while on business/vacation.
Perhaps you are en experienced CrossFitter, one of the regulars here and you are curious to drop in on one of your gym crushes. Invictus, Outlaw, CFNE, maybe even the OG. How do you go about setting that up?
Earlier this month, I went on a brief hiatus to my hometown of San Antonio to visit family. I wasn’t going to be in town long, but I did want to stop in and see a few gyms in the area. I’m always excited to see how CrossFit impacts people’s lives in a town that is usually in the running for “Fattest City in America.”
So I dropped in at three different gyms. I had varying levels of experiences in all three. I keep in mind that I do this job everyday, and have for well over 4 years now, so I’m a little picky.
Here are some basic tips to make your visit go smoothly!
Start your search @ maps.crossfit.com – Search for all the gyms near where you are going. You’ll certainly find one or two close to where you are.
Check to see if they have a drop-in policy – Some gyms have a lot of visitors and have a step-by-step page of instructions on how they prefer to have visitors come in and join them. If they do, follow it. Don’t be weird and assume you are special and different and can just drop-in unannounced.
Umm… They don’t have anything posted – Write their front desk/owner/head trainer an email and ask if you can stop by. Tell them you are from out of town and that you train at ______ box. Give them a timeline about how long you’ve been doing CrossFit, even if it is just a few weeks. As a coach, it is always better to have an accurate understanding of a visitor’s knowledge and ability.
Show up ten minutes early – Every gym has a waiver for you to fill out. Show up early enough to stash your stuff, meet the coach, and fill out the waiver…. all before class starts. Once class starts, the coach will be needing to focus her/his attention on their regular clients (as well as you)
Be a good client – Be attentive, respectful, and be open minded. Sure they warm-up differently, that’s ok. The cues are different and the coach is telling you opposite of what you’ve been working on? Be patient, they’ve only seen you for five minutes, not since you first walked in the gym on day one like at home. Go into it knowing you will add something new to your toolbag and perhaps have something fun to show your coaches back at home.
Pro Tips (A bit above and beyond)
Trade apparel! – Sometime gyms will offer a T-shirt for the first drop-in. You can trade a t-shirt from your home gym and help share what you love!
Check out their website – Me personally? The first thing I do is look at their programming (Do they post them?) and then I look at the coaches (Do they look kind and educated?).
Write a review – If you enjoyed your visit and the gym, let people know! Show the box some love on Instagram, check-in or like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter. If you really want to show some support, take a few minutes and write them a review on Yelp. That type of response will help other people find that gym!